Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Q & A with Jason Ridler
Q: What makes Spar Battersea different from other hardboiled characters?
There's a lot of hardboiled characters who are rogues with a code. But most come from typical backgrounds: ex cop, ex soldier, ex hitman. BORING.
Spar's an ex-punk rock jackass who makes barely a living wage as a journalist. What makes him more hard boiled? He hates being a hero, but feels compelled to do it because he carries so much guilt from back in the day when he was drinking, drugging, and causing shit.
Q: How did you come up with the character?
Honestly? From reading a lot of thrillers and realizing I hated most of them because every guy was the same (see above: ex cop, ex special forces, ex CIA, blah blah blah). What I love about noir is that it's street level high drama. If I was going to write a novel in that vein, I had to start there. Spar is a street level hero, who inherits a lot of my baggage from when I was in a punk band, but is far better in a fight than I am!
Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
There is no revolution. Just a punctuated equilibrium thanks to ebooks. I watched the rise and fall of this talk over the past four years and there's nothing revolutionary here. There now exists great opportunities for hybrid careers in ebooks and other kinds of publishing. All good. But those who want to burn down book stores and yell at major publishers because everyone will be as successful as Amanda Hocking or the creep John Locke? How about writing a great book to start. That would be good. That said, lots of great folks self publish, too . . . LIKE ME!
Q: What's next for you and Spar?
Spar has three novels you can enjoy, starting with DEATH MATCH, then CON JOB, and DICE ROLL. There's also a fun novella about the backstory of pro wrestler Keith "The Bullet" Winnick, called ONE BULLET, TWO SHOTS. I have yet to decide if Spar has another adventure in him because, unlike almost all heroes in thriller fiction, Spar gets hurt . . . and stays hurt. He HATES getting hurt and by the time DICE ROLL ends he's collection of broken bones. Honestly? I think one more novel will kill him. Not sure I want that to happen just yet.
Q: How do you promote your work?
Poorly, I guess. Word of mouth. Goodreads. I've tried a bunch of stuff and not much of it works beyond handselling online. What's lovely is so many people on Goodreads seemed to like my books. Check 'em out and see what the Ridler is cooking.
Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
Most. Fantasy and horror, literary, some science fiction. I try to keep my mind open, but mostly like the dark stuff.
Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
It's a staple. That's why I tried to change it with the Bullet in DEATH MATCH and the other Spar novels. He's deadly as hell, but he'd rather be left alone if only Spar wouldn't keep getting throat deep in trouble.
Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
If I was any good at predictions, I'd win every lottery. I will say that if you want to read some of the best crime fiction out today, check out Cara Hoffman, Elizabeth Hand, Christa Faust, Nick Mamatas, Joe Clifford, Tom Pitts, Trent Zelazny, Sean Craven and more. Pick up SWILL magazine, too.
Q: Why do you write in this genre?
There's a strange beauty in crime fiction. It's like you can write with the epic grandeur of Greek tragedy or Shakespeare but shove it in the dark corners of the world where the freaks, geeks and desperate souls live. It allows you to write big about people in hard times. What's not to love?